Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sex as a Game

(Jump to comments.)

I was in a webcam/mic/text chatroom for the Rational Response Squad the other night when after I stopped a superfluous "conversation" about alochol (by pointing out the hypocrisy of a bunch of young non–theists for saying they pity theists and their lack of cognitive clarity, then ranting about how much they love drinking and losing their abilities to think and control themselves), they suddenly turned the subject to sex. A common seque, to be sure, but I was really taken aback by the way they talked about how difficult it is to get people, specifically women, to open up about sex.

"They’re the gatekeepers, they hold all the cards."

That’s how it was put. On and on, these young men complained how the only way to get a woman to have sex with them was to convince them that they are confident, and find ways past all their barriers. Disgusting.

I had to speak up, and I did. I said, "What’s with this gatekeeper shit? You act as if sex is something a woman has and a man has to take; instead of seeing sex as something two people do with each other, you’ve turned it into a supply and demand."

Typical ad hoc reactions all around. No, that’s not what I meant! I don’t mean all women! No, I’m just saying, you know, like, from my own experience.

I pointed out the hypocrisy of this defense. They never made any qualifiers to indicate they were talking about ’a certain kind of’ women, or even just the women they’ve met. It was "women are," "women do this," without exception. Then came the sure sign that they were not interested so much in analyzing what’s really going on when they talk to women as much as they are in whining about how I don’t by in to their persecution complex: ad hominems about me.

"Aerik, have you ever even been to a bar?" "How old are you, Aerik?"

Ah, of course. Only after 15 minutes of vacuous ad hoc defenses, do they add the qualifier of a bar scene come into play. And of course they try to act as if they always were talking about the way things are done in bars. Nevermind there was a 5 minute gap between the bullshit about how different drinks give you different hangovers and this new misogynistic circle–jerk, and nevermind the fact that they mostly talked about drinking at home.

They kept at it. Some spoke up into their mics asking how old I was, and how if I just wait a couple years I’ll see things the way they do. Nothing more than conversational bullying, invoking a mindset where if you are younger, you are less experienced, and therefore stupider. Naturally, when I call them on it, they say they don’t mean it. Then why say it?

More, they went on with the bullshit gatekeeper analogy. I had to point out, "Look, just because you’re attracted to a woman does not mean she has power over you." One of them actually said back to me, "yeah huh!"

I notice that analogies like this never happen anywhere else. Suppose these same guys (call them Group A) go to the beach and try to get another group of guys (Group B) to play volleyball with them. Group B doesn’t want to play. But Group A keeps on insisting, and has to prove their coolness untli Group B gives in.

Would these guys I was talking to, Group A, say that Group B "are the gate keepers," that they "hold all the cards" ?? I doubt it. Would they go home and complain at how prudish Group B was acting, not letting Group A have their game (when they could’ve just played with themselves)? Nope. But when it comes to trying to stick their penises in women, suddenly women are "holding all the cards."

So you see, they do in fact see sex as something women have and they have to find a way to take, and not something two people do together, like play volleyball. I know it sounds odd to say this, but in a sense, if these guys treated sex more like a game, then they would probably get along better with women and understand why the women on their webcams throughout this conversation just rolled their eyes.

yet I doubt they would listen even to this explanation to why I insisted on taking them to task for their careless words. And careless is the correct word, for before long, they declared argument ad nauseum. We shouldn’t talk about it anymore, we’re wasting time, we’re not going anywhere, blah blah. Then the kicker. "Geez, Aerik, we’re not being serious right now, we’re just hanging around. Why do you constantly want to debate me?"

What a lamentable attitude. Hey guys, we shouldn’t care about what we’re saying, cuz you know, we’re just hanging out. Doesn’t matter if we’re casually insulting and exploiting entire classes of people, cuz we’re just hanging out, no big deal, right?

| Links to this postEmail This!
To Top of Post
Friday, June 22, 2007

blog ratings

(Jump to comments.)
What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 – Online Dating

Mingle2Online Dating

Yeah. NC–17. While Pharyngula got G, other atheist blogs got R, I got this. Fascinating.

| Links to this postEmail This!
To Top of Post
Tuesday, June 12, 2007

America's Problem with Kid-Hating

(Jump to comments.)

Right now over at Feministe, guest blogger Roy has immediately earned my respect with a piece called Why I hate "I hate children."

One text I read, namely What Shall We Tell the Children? by Nicholas Humpmphrey, is a piece about everyday religious child abuse, whether it be passive or active. Today, Roy reminds us of another form of abuse children face, which is the resentment by adults in which children are deemed burdens on individuals and society, and given no empathy as human beings.

My first post is actually something that’s been rolling around in my mind for about the last month. See, last month, in two seperate posts — one here at feministe and one over at feministing — people indulged in rants about how much they hate children. The complaints ranged from how annoying loud children are in movie theaters, to how children run through stores, to how obnoxious children are when they kick the seat on an airplane. The animosity towards children extended to their parents as well, but the bulk of the real venom was directed towards the children. This anger towards children is hardly reserved to these sites, but I was particularly surprised to see it on sites like these, given how much time we spend here discussing ways to end bigotry and fight things like sexism or homophobia.

That really hits home. I truly find it disgusting, when people see children as bothers, sa pests to be swept away or ignored. When I read comments like those in the links Roy provides, I can’t help but reminded of the plight of four fictional siblings in the novel Flowers in the Attic: Their mother saw them as an obstacle to her social standing in the private society she wishes to impress, so she locks them in an attic and hires a disciplinarian to beat manners and silence into them. Next, my thoughts wonder back to the words of Nicholas Humphrey.

This is, surely, the crux of it. It is a cornerstone of every decent moral system, stated explicitly by Immanuel Kant but already implicit in most people’s very idea of morality, that human individuals have an absolute right to be treated as ends in themselves — and never as means to achieving other people’s ends. It goes without saying that this right applies no less to children than to anybody else. And since, in so many situations, children are in no position to look after themselves, it is morally obvious that the rest of us have a particular duty to watch out for them.

So, in every case where we come across examples of children’s lives being manipulated to serve other ends, we have a duty to protest. And this, no matter whether the other ends involve the mollification of the Gods, "the preservation of important values for Western civilisation", the creation of an interesting anthropological exhibit for the rest of us... or — now I will come to the next big question that is been waiting — the fulfillment of certain needs and aspirations of the child’s own parents.

The suffering of these children is by no means extreme, as Roy points out.

According to UNICEF, there are about 2.2 billion children living in the world right now. Of those, 1 billion live in poverty. That’s 1 out of every 2 children. In addition, 1.9 billion of those 2.2 billion live in developing nations. 1 in 3 of them (that’s 640 million) live without adequate shelter. 1 in 5 don’t have access to safe water. 1 in 7 don’t have access to any health services. Almost 30,000 children die every day before the age of 5. There are 15 million HIV/AIDS orphans living in the world today, and growing– that’s more children than currently live in the United Kingdom. And that barely scratches the surface of the Unicef report.

Wow. Even the children living in what is commonly boasted as the "greatest country in the world," with loving parents and family, can’t catch a break, for their very vulnerabilities arouse resentment in most strangers they pass by and even most relatives, guardian privileges or not. Makes me want to wretch.

But alas, I am no stranger to being accused of hating children. Taking inspiration from bluey the body rights thingamabob (well, I was just barely inside the limits of fair use when I almost quoted it exactly), I wrote a letter to the editor at the Kansas City Star advocating for women’s autonomous rights to their own bodies. What really seemed to piss everybody off was that I used the word "parisitize" (not technically a word, though). The responses were full of hate, bile, vehemence, and a lot of requests that my letter be reprinted on Mother’s Day, which I found humorous for two reasons. First, my mother knew of my letter before it was printed, and second, my letter is a testament for my respect to my mother’s basic human rights, and if it is an example of hating children, then it is an example of masochism.

Similar resuls were had at this post at Skepticality. They mostly focused on how allegedly I think children are parasites.

I decided to run an experiment. I had recently signed up to the Hillbilly Atheist forums. I re–posted my arguments, only I left out the word parasite. This time, the only difference was that peopel brought up the word "parasite" for themselves.

Go ahead. Read my posts. Now let me say this: I do not think children are parasites. What most people seem to misunderstand, whether they are reading Bluey or my 4 rants available online before this post, is that I give you the benefit of the doubt that a fetus is a person. The rub is that I belive one person’s body–rights do not supercede another’s. Maybe sometimes it is necessary to kill one person to immediately save the lives of two or more other people. It still remains you violated that person’s right to live. It just does not matter if a fetus is a person or not. A woman’s body is hers, and your right to live, one body right, does not supercede the body–rights of another person.

Does that mean I hate children? Of course not. If I hated children so much, how come I volunteer to babysit my two nephews all the time? Why am I so good with children and genuinely enjoy the experience? If a child came up to me one day, even my nephews, and asked me what is wrong with abortion, would I tell them exactly the same dialogue that I posted to the Kansas City Star or the HBA forums? You bet I would. But I would go the extra mile (or two, or three, or ten) to show them that this means I have more respect for their rights as human beings than any "pro–lifer" (or rather, "pro–forced–birth" advocate) can even evidently fathom.

Let me gather stock. Plenty of people who would protest at an abortion clinic one day, then rally the next day against welfare at the poor side of town. Since the consequences of anti–poor–people attidudes spill directly onto minorities, my father rightfully calls this combination of prejudice "Save a baby, kill a nigger." I just do not think it follows that if I am pro–choice, thenI should hate children, or that if I am "pro–life", then I really think well of others’ welfare. But some commenters at Feministe, Pandagon and Feministing really think that follows.

We can do better. I can do better. I often ignore most other comments at that trio of sites, but no more. I am going to actively read through every post, and I am going to call out ever instance of child–resentment just like I do rape jokes on IRC channels and at family gatherings, and Reddit. Because it is my duty as a decent human being.

"... the only circumstances under which it should be morally acceptable to impose a particular way of thinking on children, is when the result will be that later in life they come to hold beliefs that they would have chosen anyway, no matter what alternative beliefs they were exposed to." Damn right, Mr. Humphrey. It was wrong, as Brown vs. Topeka BOE showed, to raise black chilren in an environment in which they learned to hate themselves, and it is wrong to raise children to day to resent and hate the fact that they are children or that they once were. This I hold in my heart to be true. And you should too.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

| Links to this postEmail This!
To Top of Post
Sunday, June 10, 2007

More bad internetz behavior from IDiots

(Jump to comments.)


Following in the footsteps of his daddy bear, DaveScot, a well–known IDiot and comment bully-slash-troll at ScienceBlogs and Panda’s Thumb, has signed up to social bookmarking sites not to find anything interesting to read, but to do nothing but flood them with "content" from Uncommon Descent, the blog–based sister of the Discovery Institute website, and be the one to make the first comment to fool users into believing that the community is more interested and psyched about their "material" than reality shows. Luckily, if you give that link above a visit, you'll find William and Dave are almost always only ones taking their own bait.

It’s just like I said. They care more for shoving their faces in your salsa dip then they are being polite guests with something interesting to say.

Labels: , , , , ,

| Links to this postEmail This!
To Top of Post